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Matthew 19:1-2 meaning

Jesus leaves Galilee and moves closer to Jerusalem where He will soon be crucified and resurrected. He enters the area known as Judea beyond the Jordan where He heals many among the large crowds that followed Him from Galilee.

The parallel gospel account of Matthew 19:1-2 is found in Mark 10:1.

After Jesus finished teaching His disciples about greatness and mercy in Peter's house in Capernaum, He left Galilee for the last time. Jesus would not come back to Galilee until after His death and resurrection (Matthew 28:10, 28:16-17, John 21:1-18). He came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan (v 1) in southern Israel. This was not too far from the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13). This region is located east, or beyond the Jordan River from the city of Jerusalem. It is directly across the Jordan from Judea and Samaria and between the Decapolis to its north and the Dead  Sea to its south. Click "Maps and Charts" in the Additional Resources section on the right to see a map of the area. Sometimes this region is referred to as Perea. More importantly, Judea beyond the Jordan (v 1) is in the vicinity of Jerusalem where Jesus will soon be crucified.

Matthew reports that as Jesus departed Galilee and entered this region that large crowds followed Him there (v 2). Matthew also simply wrote that Jesus healed them there (v 2). Presumably Jesus healed many who were sick, demon-possessed, injured, etc. as He had done throughout the rest of His earthly ministry.

Matthew uses these two verses to shift not only the location, but also as a transition away from Jesus's ministry in and around Galilee as a way to focus upon the climatic events of His life on earth during His first advent that are about to take place in Jerusalem.

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